World Bank group president Jim Yong Kim on Tuesday said there was a need to eradicate poverty from Uttar Pradesh where 8% of the world’s extremely poor lived.
“Without being successful in Uttar Pradesh, we cannot be successful in the world in our fundamental objective of ending poverty in this generation,” said Kim, who was on a daylong visit to the state, during a joint press conference with chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
“In ending poverty we think that, once and for all, we will remove this stain from the consciousness of all of us in the world. It is not right that people live on less than our level, which is $25 a day,” added the World Bank chief.
Kim, who was on his first visit to India since taking over his current role eight months ago, said he made it a point to visit UP.
During the course of their interaction, Yadav asked Kim for $3.5 billion (nearly Rs. 20,000 crore) assistance, including funds for the proposed Lucknow metro rail project.
Agriculture, irrigation, health, road, tourism and solid waste management were the other projects for which the CM sought aid.
Kim indicated there would be an expansion of World Bank assistance in the area of rural and urban infrastructure in UP but this depended on the success of ongoing projects in the state where “the experience so far has been good.”
Currently, the state has two ongoing World Bank-aided projects. These are the $196 million UP Sodic Lands Reclamation III Project, and the $148 mill i on UP Health Systems Strengthening Project.
To a question on the roadmap for India’s economic growth, he said: “I have observed that there is extreme focus at all levels of the union government on putting in place a plan that would lead to economic growth in the future.
"And the government understands that a lot of investment is required. India has an infrastructure deficit of $1 trillion during the next five years and the government has plans to get 53% of this investment from the public sector and 47% from the private sector. We call this approach new, courageous and absolutely correct.”
For his part, Yadav said, “We had a positive discussion. I hope that Uttar Pradesh would get the support of World Bank so that development and infrastructure projects can move forward.”
He pointed out that Uttar Pradesh was the most populous state in the country and had more people than many other countries. Kim, who is on a three-day India visit, later went to Kanpur.